Keto Cauliflower Rice ‘Mac and Cheese’ (Gluten Free)

Briana

Briana

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Need an easy, cheesy low carb and keto friendly side dish? You must try this truly decadent Keto Cauliflower Rice ‘Mac and Cheese’! If you’re missing the real thing, this side dish is officially approved to cure your mac and cheese cravings, with only 5 net carbs per serving. Compare that to traditional mac and cheese, and you can’t beat it! We pack four different cheeses into this scrumptious dish, and we know you need to use up some of that riced cauliflower in the freezer. We’re confident that this will make you a fan of cauliflower rice!


keto cauliflower rice mac and cheese

If you’re running out of ideas for how to use that cauliflower rice in the back of the freezer, we have a solution! A lot of people aren’t fans of cauliflower rice. While we understand that it’s not a perfect substitute for regular rice in most instances, we have found a seriously DELICIOUS, gluten free use for this versatile low carb veggie. This keto cauliflower rice ‘mac and cheese’ is a game changer, and will actually have you craving this stuff.

We aren’t going to promise that it’s a low calorie item, but then again, neither is regular mac and cheese! What can be promised is the fact that we skipped out on gluten, and a TON of the carbs entirely, so that you can enjoy something totally decadent without all the bloat, and it won’t kick you out of ketosis. My husband Chamere is a total mac and cheese fanatic, and it’s one of the things he misses most on a low carb diet, until now! In his own words “This stuff very filling, flavorful and satisfying. I’m very happy!”

inside of cauliflower rice mac and cheese in a cast iron skillet

Here’s What We Used For This Keto Cauliflower Rice ‘Mac and Cheese’:​

The Main Components:​

  • Riced cauliflower – This is the key component (obviously!) You can definitely make your own, but we never do, to be honest. It’s very affordable and super convenient to buy frozen at the store. We used frozen cauliflower for this, and just warmed it up in the microwave before we got to cooking.
  • Unsalted butter – We like using unsalted butter because that way, you can control the salt level in this mac and cheese much easier. Depending on the cheeses you use, they might have more salt than what we used, so it’s good to control the salt level as much as possible.
  • Low Carb Whole Milk – You can substitute for nut milk if you like. We just feel like there’s nothing like whole milk when it comes to making this creamy cheese sauce. Organic Valley makes an ultra-filtered milk that we love, and it’s only 7 net carbs for a whole cup. Compare that to 13 carbs in a regular cup of whole milk!
  • Heavy Whipping Cream – We love heavy whipping cream to give a rich, creamy sauce. You could substitute for half and half.

The Cheeses:​

  • Sharp Cheddar Cheese – For that classic orange/yellow color that classic mac and cheese is known for! The sharpness also adds a well rounded flavor to this mac and cheese.
  • White Sharp Cheddar Cheese – We love sharp cheeses, this one is arguably even “sharper” than the traditional sharp cheddar!
  • Pepper Jack Cheese – This one is great since it’s a little spicy, but also mild with Monterrey Jack as the base. It melts really well too.
  • Gouda Cheese – We used one of our Roth Cheese favorites, Gouda! It’s mellow, mild, and slightly sweet, making it super versatile and the perfect choice for this keto cauliflower rice ‘mac and cheese’!

The Seasonings:​

  • Salt – We add the salt (and we use kosher salt) after all the cheese is added and melted, because like we mentioned above, the salt levels of you different cheese can vary greatly. No one wants this to be too salty!
  • Black Pepper – Just plain ground black pepper works perfect, but freshly cracked pepper is even better. Add to taste.
  • Cajun Seasoning – We make our own cajun seasoning, but you could of course use store bought, like this one. If you’re interested, check out the recipe for your own cajun seasoning below. Cajun seasoning is optional, but we think it makes our keto cauliflower mac and cheese really special! If you’re using store-bought (or even our blend) there is already some salt added, so just be aware of this.
  • Cayenne Pepper – If you like a little hit of spice like we do, add this! It’s optional. Add slowly and to taste.
  • Garlic Powder & Onion Powder – Both garlic powder and onion powder are a MUST if you ask us. These flavors are the main bases of literally any of our favorite dishes, they will add some sweetness.
keto cauliflower rice mac and cheese

Can I Use Any Mixture of Cheeses For This Keto Cauliflower Rice Mac and Cheese?

Mostly, yes! You do want to use some standard sharp cheddar if you want that nice orange/yellow color. Honestly, you can use whatever cheeses you like though. We will say that you want a mixture of different flavor profiles with the cheeses. We included pepper jack for a little kick, and two different types of sharp cheddar, as well as a smooth and mellow gouda cheese. Using a few pungent cheeses that say “sharp” will help give you a well rounded flavor.

Pepper jack, while a little spicy, is overall a mellow cheese that’s very versatile since it’s made with Monterrey Jack, so that’s a good cheese for mac and cheese. We also included some gouda cheese, that is good and melty, with a pretty mellow flavor. Get creative! Havarti, Monterrey jack, Colby jack, smoked cheeses, and even parmesan are good choices as well. Mix and match and get creative! The main thing you want to remember for mac and cheese is that you should always shred the cheese from a block, so that it melts well. Also, there’s no anti-caking agents when you shred block cheese, unlike pre-shedded cheese, which is another factor that prevents easy melting.

How Do I Keep The Cauliflower Rice From Being Too Wet?

To keep the cauliflower rice from being too wet (if you’re preparing from frozen) we don’t recommend working with it straight from frozen. Prepare it in the microwave according to the instructions, then, we recommend putting it in a hot skillet and moving around often to keep it from burning. Basically you want to cook it until it feels light and fluffy in texture. You will notice a lot of steam coming off the cauliflower rice while it cooks. This is good, that means the moisture is leaving. The more moisture you cook off now, the better the texture will be later on, since it won’t release and get watery while cooking.

We do know people like to be more hands off and put the cauliflower rice in the oven to do this at about 375°F for about 20 minutes on a parchment lined baking sheet. This should work too. We personally don’t like dirtying more dishes, but you can definitely do that if you want.

cheesy cauliflower with a big metal spoonful in a cast iron skillet

How Do I Make My Own Cajun Seasoning Blend?

To make our super simple cajun seasoning blend from scratch, it’s super easy. Combine the following spices in a bowl. 2 tbsp kosher salt, 2 tbsp oregano, 2 tbsp smoked paprika, 2 tbsp onion powder, 2 tbsp garlic powder, 1 tbsp thyme, 1 tbsp cayenne pepper, 1 tbsp black ground pepper, 1/2 tbsp crushed red pepper. Store in an airtight container, and use as needed!

Here’s Some More Recipes with Cauliflower Rice That You Will Love:

Tools We Used For This Recipe:

cauliflower mac and cheese in a cast iron skillet

Want to get supplies for this recipe or shop our keto kitchen or pantry? We’ve linked our favorites above and right here in our Amazon Store!  A Full Living is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associate program, an affiliate advertising program designed to promote a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking products to amazon.com. We only share products we use and love. It doesn’t cost you anything extra to shop using our links, but we earn a small commission that helps us keep this site going! 


How to Make This Keto Cauliflower Rice Mac and Cheese:

Prepare your frozen riced cauliflower according to the package. Then, cook over medium heat until light and fluffy and slightly browned in a cast iron skillet. This will ensure you get rid of the extra moisture. Set aside in the skillet while you work on the cheese sauce.

In sauce pan, melt your butter over medium heat. Next, add milk, heavy cream, and all of your spices except for salt. You will add salt at the end after your cheese is added to the sauce. Whisk well until combined.

Once the milk and cream are warmed through, add in your shredded cheese in batches, reserving some for topping later. Mix constantly to make sure the cheese doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan and burn. Stir until everything is well combined and a nice thin consistency. Taste, then add salt as needed.

Add the cheese sauce with your cauliflower, and mix with a rubber spatula until well combined. Top with remaining cheese and bake for 20 minutes, and broil for about 5 minutes on high for a nice crispy top.

That’s it! Just serve and enjoy!

keto cauliflower rice mac and cheese

If you get a chance to try this recipe, let us know what you think, would ya?! Leave us a comment, or catch up with us on Facebook or Instagram, or pin to your favorite Pinterest board for later. We love sharing your versions of our creations over on Instagram @afullliving!

spoonful of cheesy cauliflower in a skillet

Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to subscribe to our email newsletter so you’re the first to know about new recipes we post on our blog.

Until Next Time,
Briana & Chamere

Keto Cauliflower Rice ‘Mac and Cheese’
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
40 mins
Total Time
1 hr
 

Need an easy, cheesy low carb and keto friendly side dish? You must try this truly decadent Keto Cauliflower Rice 'Mac and Cheese'! If you're missing the real thing, this side dish is officially approved to cure your mac and cheese cravings, with only 5 net carbs per serving. Compare that to traditional mac and cheese, and you can't beat it! We pack four different cheeses into this scrumptious dish, and we know you need to use up some of that riced cauliflower in the freezer. We're confident that this will make you a fan of cauliflower rice!

Course: Sides
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cast iron skillet, cheese, gluten free, keto, low carb
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 373 kcal
Author: Briana
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs frozen riced cauliflower (about 4 cups)
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup whole milk (low carb milk)
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tsp cajun seasoning
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional and to taste)
  • 7 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 3 oz white cheddar cheese, grated
  • 3 oz pepper jack, grated
  • 3 oz gouda cheese, grated
  • 1.5 tsp kosher salt (or to taste, add slowly!!)
Instructions
  1. Prepare your frozen riced cauliflower according to the package. Then, cook over medium heat until light and fluffy and slightly browned in a cast iron skillet. Set aside.

  2. In sauce pan, melt your butter over medium heat. Next, add milk, heavy cream, and all of your spices except for salt. Whisk until well combined.

  3. Once the milk and cream are warmed through, add in your shredded cheese in batches, reserving some for topping later. Mix constantly to make sure the cheese doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan and burn. Stir until everything is well combined and a nice thin consistency. Taste, then add salt as needed.

  4. Add the cheese sauce with your cauliflower, and mix with a rubber spatula until well combined. Top with remaining cheese and bake for 20 minutes, and broil for about 5 minutes on high for a nice crispy top.

Recipe Notes

Macros: We calculate our nutrition facts via MyFitnessPal as a courtesy, and we cannot guarantee the accuracy. They will vary a lot depending on the brands and cheeses you use. 

Makes 8 servings, 373 calories, 33g fat, 16g protein, 2g sugar, 6g total carbs, 1g fiber, making 5g net carbs. 

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keto cauliflower rice mac and cheese

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